The Bourne Identity / Page 34

Page 34



'None?'

'Not even a pair of shorts. I've thrown everything away. You'd look a little foolish running down the street in a plastic money belt'

Bourne laughed through his pain, remembering La Ciotat and the Marquis de Chambord. 'Methodical,' he said.

'Very.'

'What happens now?'

'I've written out the name of the doctor and paid a week's rent for the room. The concierge will bring you meals starting at noon today. I'll stay here until mid-morning. It's nearly six o'clock; it should be light soon. Then I'D return to the hotel for the rest of my things and my airline tickets, and do my best to avoid any mention of you.'

'Suppose you can't? Suppose you were identified?'

I'll deny it. It was dark. The whole place was hi panic.'

'Now you're not being methodical. At least, not as methodical as the Zurich police would be. I've got a better way. Call your friend and tell her to pack the rest of your clothes and settle your bill. Take as much money as you want from me and grab the first plane to Canada. It's easier to deny long distance.'

She looked at him in silence, then nodded. That's very tempting.'

'It's very logical.'

She continued to stare at him a moment longer, the tension inside her building, conveyed by her eyes. She turned away and walked to the window, looking out at the earliest rays of the morning sun. He watched her, feeling the intensity, knowing its roots, seeing her face in the pale orange glow of dawn. There was nothing he could do; she had done what she felt she had to do because she had been released from terror. From a kind of terrible degradation no man could really understand. From death. And in doing what she did, she had broken all the rules. She whipped her head towards him, her eyes glaring.

'Who are you?'

'You heard what they said.'

'I know what I saw! What I feel'

'Don't try to justify what you did. You simply did it, that's all. Let it be.'

Let it be. Oh, God, you could have let me be. And there would have been peace. But now you have given part of my life back to me, and I've got to struggle again, face it again.

Suddenly, she was standing at the foot of the bed, the gun in her hand. She pointed it at him and her voice trembled. 'Should I undo it then? Should I call the police and tell them to come and take you?'

'A few hours ago I would have said go ahead. I can't bring myself to say it now.'

Then who are you?"

They say my name is Bourne. Jason Charles Bourne.'

'What does that mean? "They say"?'

He stared at the gun, at the dark circle of its barrel. There was nothing left but the truth - as he knew the truth.

'What does it mean?' he repeated. 'You know almost as much as I do, Doctor.'

'What?'

'You might as well hear it Maybe it'll make you feel better. Or worse, I don't know. But you may as well, because I don't know what else to tell you.'

She lowered the gun. 'Tell me what?'

'My life began five months ago on a small island in the Mediterranean called lie de Port Noir

The sun had risen to the midpoint of the surrounding trees, ' its rays filtered by windblown branches, streaming through the windows and mottling the walls with irregular shapes of light. Bourne lay back on the pillow, exhausted. He had finished; there was nothing more to say.

Marie sat across the room in a leather armchair, her legs curled up under her, cigarettes and the gun on a table to her left. She had barely moved, her gaze fixed on his face; even I when she smoked, her eyes never wavered, never left his. She was a technical analyst, evaluating data, filtering facts as the trees filtered the sunlight

'You kept saying it,' she said softly, spacing out her next words. ' "I don't know." ... "I wish I knew." You'd stare at something, and I was frightened. I'd ask you, what was it? What were you going to do? And you'd say it again, "I wish I knew." My God, what you've been through ... What you're going through.'

'After what I've done to you, you can even think about what's happened to me?' [

They're two separate lines of occurrence,' she said absently, j frowning in thought I

'Separate? ...'

'Related in origin, developed independently; that's econommics nonsense ... And then on the Lowenstrasse, just before we went up to Chernak's flat, I begged you not to make me go with you. I was convinced that if I heard any more you'd kill me. That's when you said the strangest thing of all. You said ... "What you heard makes no more sense to me than it

does you. Perhaps less ..." I thought you were insane.'

'What I've got is a form of insanity. A sane person remembers. I don't'

'Why didn't you tell me Chernak tried to kill you?'

"There wasn't time and I didn't think it mattered.'

'It didn't at that moment - to you. It did to me.'

'Why?'

'Because I was holding onto an outside hope that you wouldn't fire your gun at someone who hadn't tried to kill you first.'

'But he did. I was wounded.'

'I didn't know the sequence; you didn't tell me.'

'I don't understand.'

Marie lit a cigarette. 'It's hard to explain, but during all the time you kept me hostage, even when you hit me, and dragged me and pressed the gun into my stomach and held it against my head - God knows, I was terrified - but I thought I saw something in your eyes ... Call it reluctance. It's the best I can come up with.'

'It'll do. What's your point?'

'I'm not sure. Perhaps it goes back to something else you said in the booth at the Drei Alpenhauser. That fat man was coming over and you told me to stay against the wall, cover my face with my hand. "For your own good," you said. "There's no point in his being able to identify you."'

"There wasn't'

'For your own good. That's not the reasoning of a pathological killer. I think I held onto that - for my own sanity, maybe - that and the look in your eyes.'

'I still don't get the point'

'The man with the gold-rimmed glasses who convinced me he was the police, said you were a brutal killer who had to be stopped before he killed again. Had it not been for Chernak I wouldn't have believed him. On either point. The police don't behave like that; they don't use guns in dark, crowded places. And you were a man running for your life - are running for your life - but you're not a killer.'

Bourne held up his hand. 'Forgive me, but that strikes me as a judgment based on false gratitude. You say you have a respect for facts - then look at them. I repeat: you heard what they said - regardless of what you think you saw and feel - you heard the words. Boiled down, envelopes were filled with money and delivered to me to fulfil certain obligations. I'd say those obligations were pretty clear, and I accepted them. I had a numbered account at the Gemeinschaft Bank containing over four million dollars. Where did I get it? Where does a man like me - with the obvious skills I have - get that kind of money?' Jason stared at the ceiling. The pain was returning, the sense of futility also. 'Those are the facts, Dr St Jacques. It's time you left.'


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